Figs
FIGS.
INTRODUCTION

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The early figs and the figs are the infrutescencias of the fig tree, tree that belongs to the family of the Moráceas. This family consists of more than 1.500 species of trees and shrubs that produce latex. The early fig is the first fruit that annually yields the fig tree, being the fig the fruit of the second harvest of the same tree. They are so delightful that up to poets and philosophers they have spread his virtues.




ORIGIN AND VARIETIES

The fig is a fruit that has been part of the habitual diet of different cultures from very remote times. In Egypt, specifically in the Gizeh pyramid (year 4.000 - 5.000 B.C.) have found drawings representative of his compilation. In the book of the Exodus they are part of the fruits that the Canaán explorers presented to Cradle. There were always an essential food for the Greeks: the fig trees were devoting themselves to Dionisios, the god of the renewal. When a city was founded, a fig tree was standing firm between the agora and the forum to indicate the place where the elders would meet. It was the favorite Platón delicacy, in fact he is met like the "fruit of the philosophers". Physician was recommending his consumption to the athletes who were taking part in the Olympic games.

The fig tree is original of the Mediterranean and his fruits have been much appreciated by the different cultures that have settled in the shores of this sea throughout the years. The principal producing countries are: Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, France, the United States and Brazil. Inside the Spanish territory he emphasizes his cultivation in Huesca (Raspberry), Lerida, Avila and Caceres (Saw of Gredos), Murcia and Alicante.

These fruits can qualify in three groups depending on the color of his skin. The white varieties, of whitish, yellowish or green color when they are mature; the colored ones, include the fruits of more or less clear bluish color; and the black varieties, of dark red or black color.


One of the most valued types of figs is the lady's Neck, variety of white fig, recognized by his thin skin and intense sweetness, which in Spain come from the Vale of the Tiétar (Saw of Gredos). Also the variety exists Lady's Neck in black fig. The fruits are flattened, the skin thicker than that of the white figs and with a pulp of a very sweet attractive purple color. They are cultivated successfully in Lerida and in Huesca.

HIS BEST EPOCH

The figs, from August till the end of October.

CHARACTERISTICS

It forms: the figs adopt diverse forms, egg-shaped, with pear form, flattened in the base and more breadth than high place, according to the variety.

Size and weight: normally the figs are of small size, the 60-70 millimeters long and 45-55 in diameter one and they weigh approximately 28-40 grams.

Color: the skin of the fig can be pale green, purple or black according to the variety and the ripeness of the fruit. It is eatable, although in general it is not completed. On having opened them, there appears the pulp, whitish, pale pink or purple that hides hundreds of seeds that they do not hinder on having eaten the fruit.

Flavor: the figs stand out for his exquisite and perfumed sweet flavor.


HOW TO CHOOSE IT AND TO PRESERVE IT


In contrast to other fruits, the wrinkles and gaps that there presents the skin of the figs and early figs, they reveal the ideal moment of consumption of the food because there are an evidence of which the fruit has come to his ripeness point.


They must have an agreeable color, good consistency, relatively soft texture and when they are mature, yield to the light pressure with the fingers. The hard, withered fruits cracked with bitter smell or the flattened sides must be rejected. These fruits are extremely delicate and perishable goods that, even kept in the refrigerator, approximately 3 days preserve only, what makes his commercialization difficult.



Composition for 100 grams of eatable portion
Calories 65,7
Carbohydrates (g) 16
Fibre (g) 2,5
Vitamin C (mg) 3,5
Provitamina A (mcg) 25
Potassium (mg) 235
Magnesium (mg) 20
Calcium (mg) 38
mcg = micrograms
NOURISHING PROPERTIES


They possess big water quantity and they are rich in carbohydrates (saccharose, glucose, fructose), therefore his caloric value is high. He emphasizes his wealth in fibre; that improves the intestinal transit, organic and mineral acids as the potassium, the magnesium and the calcium, the last one of worse use than the one that comes from the milk or other food that are a good source of the above mentioned mineral. As for other nutrients, they contain a moderate provitamina quantity A, of antirust action. This nutrient transforms in vitamin A in our similar organism this one needs it. The above mentioned vitamin is essential for the vision, the good state of the skin, the hair, the mucous membranes, the bones and for the good functioning of the immune system, in addition to having antirust properties. The potassium is necessary for the transmission and generation of the nervous impulse, for the normal muscular activity and it intervenes in the water balance inside and out of the cell. The magnesium is related to the functioning of intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves the immunity and possesses a soft laxative effect.




AS REGARDS THE HEALTH
The figs and the early figs are very rich in carbohydrates, which the organism transforms into glucose. For it, the figs and the early figs are advisable fruits for all those persons in general, and in particular, for whom they need an extra energy contribution; pregnant, nursing, children in epoch of growth and adolescents and for persons with an important physical or intellectual wear. Bearing in mind the quantity of glucose that reaches port, his consumption is very interesting in persons who realize intense sports activities, especially in epochs of training or in the feeding postcompetition, to restore the deposits of glucógeno that have been exhausted. At the moment of the precompetition they are not indicated due to his content in fibre, that it might provoke intestinal inconveniences, on having delayed the digestion or to accelerate the reflex of the defecation.

The figs are digested very well and act like emollient (conditioners) of the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. The fibre is one of his principal components, reason by which there are considered to be laxative fruits. The fibre has the aptitude to fix substances (biliary acids, cholesterol...) so that it diminishes or delays his absorption. This property is particularly interesting for the persons with high cholesterol, since viscous gels form between the soluble fibre and the cholesterol that is excreted partly together with the dregs. The soluble fibre retains water, therefore the volume of the dregs increases making them more fluid and the insoluble fibre increases the speed of intestinal transit and with it the evacuation of the dregs. This fact does of the figs and the early figs a good tool to be able to fight the constipation and the intestinal apathy. Also, the fibre realizes a protection function opposite to the colon cancer, since it prevents or diminishes the time of contact of carcinogenic substances with the mucous membrane of the large intestine.

Antirust

It has been stated recently that the figs and the green early figs present antirust activity, although compared to other fruits it is not of the most excellent. The antirust substances (provitamina A of these fruits) neutralize the harmful action of the free radicals therefore they help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular, degenerative diseases and of cancer. For his composition, it is food especially indicated in case of constipation (rich in fibre), in diets to slim (for his effect saciante), when intense physical activity is realized (to fulfill the extra energy demand) and for persons with diabetes; of course, bearing in mind the caloric content and of sugar.

For his high content in potassium and low in sodium, they turn out to be very advisable for those persons who suffer arterial hypertension or complaints of blood glasses and heart. Nevertheless, his plenty of the above mentioned mineral, it will have to bear it in mind the persons who suffer from renal insufficiency and who need of special diets controlled in potassium. Nevertheless, to whom they take diuretics that eliminate potassium and to the persons with bulimia, due to the episodes of autoinduced vomiting that provoke big losses of this mineral, the consumption of these fruits is convenient for them.



CURIOSITIES
It is known that Hipócrates was recommending these fruits for the feverish states. In the popular tradition of different cultures, they have been used during hundreds of years derived from figs to treat colds and to relieve the sore throat. Half a dozen of figs cooked in milk boiling constitutes a good remedy to soften the cough and to favor the expectoration, and more if honey is added.

Up to the arrival of the sugar, the figs were used to preserve the cooked fruit and even like substitute of the bread of cereal.

The early figs, of major commercial interest that the figs, they form on the old wood of the branch of the tree, where they spend the winter like small buttons, being located three or four for branch. From August, the fig tree gives the second harvest, the figs, which in fact are an inverted flower inwards and the real fruit are the small seeds that stay in his interior.

The latex is a white and milky liquid that arises on having taken a fig of the tree. It is irritating and capable of coagulating the milk, by what it has been used for years like vegetable coagulant in the cheeses manufacture, and in fact, it keeps on being done traditionally this way in Majorca.


HOW TO PREPARE THEM

One of the best forms of consuming these fruits is fresh, since if they are mature it is possible to appreciate his exquisite flavor and sweetness. In countries as Italy or France, they are accompanied on ham or make use like dessert. In Andalusia there is prepared a traditional sweet that is the bread of fig, realized with dried figs and almonds. The most famous and popular fig breads in our country are those who are prepared in the Caves town, province of Almeria, and they consist of a rounded and flat cake prepared with dry figs stung elegantly together with diverse dry fruits and spices or spices: almonds, anise, cinnamon, nail, pepper, orange rind and firewater of anisette, all this mixed with water of fennel. The result is an energy food and tonificante.

Figs and early figs are used very much in confectioner's, in the shape of purée, to do fillings and adornments and to make jams. The toasted and ground figs give place to a dust that is used in the industry like substitute of the coffee, in general, combined with other ingredients (malt, barley, chicory...).

There turn out to be a delightful complement, when they are added in accompaniments for plates of fighter or of birds.

Also they are consumed, and very much, the dry figs, which industrialist or servant obtain by means of a process of dessicated. The morsels of figs combined with nuts turn out to be a delightful snack, and in diverse provinces of Castile and León, to this miscellany he is met by the name of "nougat of poor person".

The figs preserved in alcohol are another alternative derived from the fresh figs. They are prepared using small, consistent figs, of dark skin, which have not matured completely. They survive in receptacles mixed with alcohol, sugar and cinnamon.






PUDDING OF FIGS

4
20'
minimum

Ingredients

- 300 grams of dry figs
- 100 grams of sugar
- 250 grams of flour
- 4 fresh eggs
- 250 milliliters of milk
- 50 grams of margarine

To beat the eggs together with the sugar and to add the milk and the margarine, rummaging very well. To deposit the flour in a big bowl and to do a hollow in the center to throw the previous miscellany. To work quite up to obtaining a perfect miscellany, without lumps. To sting the figs elegantly and to add to the miscellany. To warm the stove to moderate temperature. To lubricate a mold and to empty the mass in him. To bake until it comes off (puncturing with a needle and verifying that it goes out clean). To allow to cool a little. Desmoldar and to serve to the table.



 
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